HomeSportsCommanders’ Terry McLaurin Reveals What Official Told Him Before Costly Penalty in Loss to Giants

Commanders’ Terry McLaurin Reveals What Official Told Him Before Costly Penalty in Loss to Giants

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The Washington Commanders (7-6-1) dropped a pivotal NFC East matchup to the New York Giants (8-5-1), 20-12, in Week 15 Sunday night after a series of questionable calls with the game on the line.

Receiver Terry McLaurin was flagged for an illegal formation penalty on the Commanders’ final drive after running back Brian Robinson punched one in for six. Video appeared to show that McLaurin checked with the official beforehand asking if he was lined up legally. McLaurin moved up a half-step before the ball was snapped. The official then threw his flag, wiping out the Commanders’ touchdown.

After the game, McLaurin further expounded on what the official told him as he was lining up.

“I felt like I was on the ball the entire time,” McLaurin said, via Pro Football Talk. “If you look through the game, I lined up there pretty much every play. I checked to see if I was good the first time and he was like, ‘Move up a little bit.’ So when I moved up, I checked to see if I was good, and he said I was good. I’m not trying to get fined.”

McLaurin took ownership after the game despite the controversial nature of the call.

“It’s frustrating because I pride myself on paying attention to detail,” McLaurin said, via ESPN. “With the game on the line, you don’t want to make a mistake to hurt your team. I wanted to make sure I was good, and I felt I was with his confirmation. I take ownership, and I have to make sure it’s not close, but it’s kind of tough. Sometimes your helmet is leaning over, and they may call offsides.”

Commanders Not Blaming Officials For Loss to Giants

Referee John Hussey, meanwhile, spoke to a pool reporter after the game and explained why the call was made.

“What I was told and what has been confirmed is that the ball was snapped at the half-yard line, and he was lined up a yard back at the 1½-yard line,” Hussey said. “In order to be deemed legal, he needs to break the beltline, the waist of the center, and he was not breaking the waistline of the center. That’s why the penalty was called, because he was not in a legal formation.”

Two plays later, the Commanders had one final shot to get the ball into the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the six-yard line. Taylor Heinicke’s intended pass for receiver Curtis Samuel fell incomplete, though Giants corner Darnay Holmes was draped all over him. Washington argued Holmes should have been called for pass interference — the officials didn’t feel the same.

“Oh yeah,” said Heinicke, when asked if pass interference should be called. “…The dude has his arm around his neck.”